Mums and dads are raising a generation of 'little princesses' who 'can do no wrong', according to the respected head teacher of a leading girls' school.
She said parents shower their daughters with presents and never criticise them - and as a result their children are heading for a nasty shock when they become adults because they lackthe 'resilience' to cope with failure.
Nicole Chapman, who is head of the 900-pupil Chelmsford County High School for Girls, where 88 per cent of pupils passed their GCSEs with As or A*s last summer, spoke out ahead of a conference about educating teenage girls.
"What I try to address with my parents here is the concept of what we call the little princess, which is one where a child, once she's satisfied her parents' ambitions to get into the school, she can do no wrong," she said.
"She's constantly praised - and that is not necessarily a good thing."
Mrs Chapman, who has a grown-up son, added: "For some of them it's just praise, but with others they can have more or less what they want.
"Their parents shower them with presents."
She said some parents 'never exposed' their daughters to any negative feedback which turned girls into 'perfectionists' who would not take risks in case they failed.
Instead of excessive praise, she said, parents should ensure their daughters were 'strong individuals' who could cope with failure and grow up to be leaders.
She told the Daily Mail: "Our girls are bright and therefore, they will be leaders. As a leader, you're not a princess. As a leader, you've got to have strength, belief, resilience.
"You have to have the right principles - you must be principled, but you must have knowledge.
All those things don't necessarily go with being a princess because a princess is a bit fragile.
"A princess receives information, learns it, regurgitates it, but never gets truly challenged."
Her comments were backed by Dr JoAnn Deak, author of Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters.
She told conference, being held at Mrs Chapman's school, yesterday: "As a parent, you'll obviously offer general praise to her sometimes, but if you do it too often, your opinion will not be valued.
"Remember too, that the more she focuses on self, the more selfish she will become; whereas the more she focuses on doing and on others, the more she will increase her self esteem."
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